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Call for Papers: Emotional Politics. The Role of Affect in Social Movements and Organizing, University of Kent

Thursday, 31 May 2018

University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Dr Carolyn Pedwell (University of Kent)

This one-day interdisciplinary conference will bring together academic researchers, activists, policy-makers and practitioners to exchange and discuss current concerns and developments in the research and practice surrounding emotion, organizing and social movements.

Veteran activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis (2016) claims that in order for a movement to be effective it needs to mobilize the masses. How does one do this? What motivates people to join a movement, especially if they are not directly affected by the campaign’s agenda and the successful implementation of its goals? Deborah Gould (2009) argues that the purposeful channelling of emotion can be decisive for the success or failure of a movement. Recent campaigns such as Black Lives Matter or the Women’s Marches, though US-centric, have managed to garner the support from millions of people worldwide. According to Carolyn Pedwell (2014) and Sara Ahmed (2004), the key lies in the relational nature of such elusive terms as emotion, feeling and affect and their ability to circulate between subjects and objects. How can organizers and campaigners make use of these characteristics? What problems may arise in the concrete experience of organizing?

Themes for papers may include (but are not restricted to):

  • Politics, emotion, and affect
  • Social movements, rights-based action, campaigning and protest (for example, LGBTQI+, disability, human rights)
  • NGOs and non-profit organisations
  • Critical race, gender, and cultural studies
  • Queer, trans and feminist activisms
  • Legal and political studies perspectives
  • Political theologies and philosophies
  • Queer and non-binary phenomenologies
  • Alienation and engagements
  • Practice-based activism and activist-scholars
  • Influencing policy and policy formation

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words for a twenty-minute research paper to emotionalpolitics@gmail.com by Friday, 22 December 2017.

We also welcome contributions by activists and practitioners on their experience of the role of affect and emotion in their work. Please submit a proposal of no more than 250 words for a 10-minute presentation.

Postgraduates and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to submit proposals.

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